By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Local players showcase talent on John Thurman diamond
Nick Welsh was just happy to be playing again.

The 2012 Ceres High graduate participated in the 23rd Annual Modesto Sunrise Rotary Baseball Classic this past week.

Welsh missed the Bulldogs' playoff game against Sonora on May 16.

"I was going through some personal struggles and family stuff," Nick said. "It was tough. I don't want to get into it."

Welsh wowed teammates, opponents and spectators with a stellar defensive play in the final inning as the East salvaged a 7-7 tie with the West Saturday night at John Thurman Field.

Nick threw out the go-ahead runner at home plate in the top of the ninth.

"I had a good read and gunned him down," said Welsh, who was stationed in center field for four innings before switching to left. "That's something I'll never forget. It's a good memory to look back on. I left my mark."

Welsh singled and scored on a passed ball in the fifth inning.

Ceres High's Devon Ruger, Jimbo Pernetti and Brandon Arevalos, and Central Valley's Ruben Casas chipped in as well.

Ruger logged playing time at first base.

Devon's RBI single gave the East a 7-6 lead in the sixth inning.

Pernetti drove in former youth travel ball teammate Devon Gradford (Downey) with a sacrifice fly in the second inning. Jimbo also walked. He played third base on defense.

Arevalos batted 1-for-2. He played right field.

Casas was hitless in two at-bats. He played shortstop.

The East roared back from a 6-1 deficit.

"We represented Ceres pretty good," Welsh said. "I'm glad we didn't lose. But we really wanted to win. It was a great experience. It's been a goal since freshman year to play in that game."

Added Pernetti: "To be chosen for a game like that is pretty cool. I thought I was going to be nervous. It felt like I was meant to be here."

Arevalos, Ruger, Pernetti and Casas will enter the 12th grade this fall.

Welsh, a four-year varsity standout with the Bulldogs, graduated in June.

Nick filled a major role while leading Ceres High to back-to-back playoff berths.

"This could be my last time playing," Welsh said. "I don't have any guarantees. I'm going to try to play at Stanislaus."